Secret Affairs: FDR, Cordell Hull, and Sumner Welles

between Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles * A good story, splendidly researched and well-told Drawing on previously unreleased FBI files, medical records, and state department memos, diplomatic historian Irwin Gellman looks at the power struggles between three legendary figures: President Roosevelt, his secretary of state Corden Hull, and the sexually-prolific under secretary Sumner Wells, as factors influencing America's role in WWII. In this in-depth study, Gelman examines the contradiction between Corden Hull's reluctance to condemn German antisemitism and his wife's Jewish ancestry, and gives an account of the fall of Sumner Welles, possibly the first person to be forced from office with charges of homosexuality. Gellman passionately advances the notion that Welles, a notorious homosexual and wealthy Harvard man, was responsible for everything usually credited to Hull, including the founding of the United Nations. Welles had known Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt since boyhood and, after the 1932 election, FDR invited him to advise on Latin American affairs. He was the architect of the Good Neighbour' policy which sought to improve ties with Latin America. When the Cubans revolted against their government, FDR nominated him to the ambassadorship and dispatched him to Havana. Gellman explores why Hull was snubbed habitually by the president in favour of Undersecretary Welles. He suggests that Welles'closeness to the president undermined his own ability to act as FDR's chief foreign policy adviser. Hull threatened resignation in August 1943 if Welles was not removed over allegations of homosexual conduct and FDR reluctantly agreed. Two years later - following his nomination by FDR - Hull was presented with the 1945 Nobel Prize for Peace. Irwin Gellman is a diplomatic historian best known for his criticially acclaimed book Good Neighbour Diplomacy (1979).